Some key differences in the brains of male and female may explain the gender bias in the patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
A new study carried out by the scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in the US reveals why women are a greater risk for the disabling disease comparing to men.
The researchers observed the blood vessels and brains of healthy mice, mice with MS, and mice without the gene for S1PR2 and a blood vessel receptor protein as well as the brain tissue samples of 20 dead people.
They discovered higher levels of protein S1PR2 in tests on the brains of female mice and dead women with MS than in male equivalents.
The high levels of S1PR2 in the areas of the brain typically damaged by MS in both mice and people, according to the study report published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
“We were very excited to find the molecule as we wanted to find a target that didn’t involve targeting the immune cell,” said Prof Robyn Klein from Washington University School of Medicine.
“This is an exciting first step in resolving the mystery of why MS rates are dramatically higher in women and in finding better ways to reduce the incidence of this disorder and control symptoms,” Klein said.
In MS patients, abnormal immune cells attack nerve cells in the central nervous system.
MS, as an inflammatory disease, affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord, which causes problems with muscle movement, balance and vision. It is a major cause of disability.
While the exact cause of Multiple Sclerosis has not been identified yet, mixture of genetic and environmental factors seems to play significant role in this neurological disease.